We Must Do Everything We Can to Send Kids Back to School This Fall

MINOT, N.D. — I am a father to a 12-year-old who, last year, was just completing her first year of middle school.

Thanks to coronavirus, the last months of the school year were rough.

We did our best with the online assignments, but the online system our school district deployed to track assignments was clunky. The teachers were overwhelmed and often unresponsive. This is not a criticism; how could they have been prepared?

I believe our schools were doing their best in an awful situation.

Still, at home, we were frustrated, but the worst of it wasn’t a confusing blizzard of assignments or slow grading.

The worst was the lack of society. My daughter was doing her assigned work, but she wasn’t getting the benefit of learning alongside her peers or socializing in the hallways between classes. She wasn’t seeing her friends or participating in school activities.

The only way we had to address this at home was to open up her limited online time so she could reach out to her friends, but this was insufficient. I grew up at the dawn of the internet age, and I was a computer nerd. I might understand better than many parents how fruitful online time can be.

It’s still no replacement for face-to-face relationships.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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